BY MIRANDA WHITWORTH Contributing writer
Mar 13 2013
Since October, local listeners have been able to tune into Bakersfield's only 24-7 comedy station, Comedy 800 AM. Now the new radio station is bringing even more laughs to town with the Bud Light Comedy Series, which kicks off Saturday at B. Ryder's Sports Bar & Grill.
Headlining the inaugural show is comedian Costaki Economopoulis, a regular on Comedy 800's sister station 98.5 The Fox. His appearances on The Bob and Tom Show have offered national exposure, but longtime local comedy fans may remember him from an earlier show at B. Ryder's.
"We did a comedy show there about three years ago and it was standing room only," said Kenn McCloud, regional programming manager for Clear Channel Radio. "The fire marshal showed up and wouldn't let anyone else in. So we think this is going to be great."
While larger venues like the Fox Theater and Rabobank Arena have succeeded in bringing comedy superstars to town, McCloud acknowledged that lesser-known names in smaller clubs have often struggled to pull crowds. But he's optimistic about the new comedy series at the venue best known for its lively music scene.
"Everyone has tried comedy in this town in these smaller venues but they just haven't had the vehicle to promote it. Here you have a station (98.5) with a 15-year history of The Bob and Tom Show known for breaking comics, plus a new full-time comedy station pushing it and it's going to be in the perfect intimate setting. This will be good."
The Bob and Tom Show connection will continue with upcoming comedy performances.
"We have a great relationship with some of the comedians that are featured off and on on Bob and Tom and we want to give them an opportunity to come out to Bakersfield and do some shows."
Comedy 800 emerged last fall when Clear Channel Radio launched a 24/7 comedy format in 14 radio stations nationwide, including Bakersfield.
Replacing La Preciosa 800 AM, the comedy station offers a fast paced format of two- to three-minute comedy segments, allowing the programming to jump from comedian to comedian much like a music format jumps from artist to artist.
"This really is perfect for the AM format and it fits our brand really well. We are the first and only 24/7 standup comedy station in Bakersfield and the comedy series going along with it makes a lot of sense."
McCloud said the station has gained a following among listeners drawn in from ads from one of the company's other stations.
"It's like the potato chip theory. You think you are just going to have one or two, and soon you've eaten the whole bag. You switch over for a minute and all of the sudden you've been listening for an hour."
McCloud, a radio veteran himself, said he's enjoyed entertaining listeners as a deejay but doesn't envy comedians their jobs.
"I love talking to them and listening to them because of their various takes on things, but I don't think I could make a living on it. Doing radio is one thing, doing 45 minutes to an hour of comedy is another. I'll make my two jokes a day and let them do the work."